Who’s Wants Turkey!?!

Right about now, I’d have to say not many people. But, you’re staring down the neck of a few pounds of mangled turkey carcass. Thanksgiving leftovers are pretty great for lunch the next day, and even Friday’s dinner looks appealing. By Saturday, most of us are a bit tired of turkey.

Enter the chili solution. Why chili?

  1. If you have guests, it’s a cheap and easy way to use up the rest of your turkey without forcing turkey sandwiches down everyone’s throat for an entire weekend.
  2. You’ll be able to use up some other random leftovers that might be hanging around your fridge.
  3. It freezes like a dream. So when you’re having a hectic day of Christmas shopping or after a grueling snow shoveling workout, just pop the chili in the microwave for instant warm goodness.
  4. Chili just tastes great.

This particular number came from The PCOS Diet Cookbook by Nadir Farid and Norene Gilletz. The idea is that all of the recipes are low glycemic index which is good for people with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). And, now for the over share segment of this post: At one point I was diagnosed with PCOS. But apparently that was a misdiagnosis. Or, maybe it’s just two disciplines arguing with each other—endocrinologists say I have it, OB/GYNs say I don’t.

Whatever condition I might have, I still like the cookbook. Not only are the recipes good, but it has a spiral binding which is nice when you want pages to lay flat on the counter. And, cover has a nice overhang that can be used for bookmarking.

Rozie’s Freeze with Ease Turkey Chili

(No, I don’t know this Rozie lady, but thanks to her for the chili.)

Serves 15

  • 2-3 onions, chopped (depends on the size of the onion… the recipe calls for three but that can get excessive with those super ginormous onions)
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 C peppers, chopped (Use a mixture of red, green, and yellow OR use up those peppers that were hanging around your crudité plate.)
  • 2 C sliced mushrooms (I usually use ½ lb. Again, if you have leftover mushrooms from the stuffing or the salad or the crudité plate, use ‘em up.)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 lbs minced turkey (shredded if you’re using leftovers… I also find that you can toss in any other leftover meat items. In addition to turkey, we usually have sausage in peppers. Or, pulled pork tastes mighty nice in this one as well. If you don’t think you have 3 lbs of leftover turkey, just add some ground packaged turkey.)
  • 19 oz can red kidney beans
  • 19 oz can white beans (It can be difficult to find 19 oz cans. So, I usually get 3-15 oz cans, two of white and one of kidney. Then, I just use half of the extra white bean can and reserve the rest for a later time.)
  • 28 oz can pureed Italian tomatoes (or crushed works as well)
  • 3 C tomato sauce (leftover pasta sauce will work in a pinch as well)
  • 2-5½ oz cans tomato paste
  • 19 oz can tomato juice (Again, I just buy tomato juice in a plastic container and measure it out. I’d recommend low-sodium. V8 will do in a pinch.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 T chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 t each basil and oregano (or to taste… use dried)
  • I also add a few squirts of Tabasco because I like it spicy. This doesn’t have a whole lot of heat to it.

In a large pot (like an 8-quarter), heat 1 T olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes. (I usually sauté for longer.) Add peppers and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes longer, until tender. (Again, I find that you need to up the cooking time—especially for the mushrooms.) Add a little water if the veggies being to stick or burn. (I have NEVER had to do this. Mushrooms are so watery that you don’t really need to add more.)

If you’re using raw turkey, remove veggies for pot and set aside. Heat remaining oil. Add turkey and brown on medium high heat, stirring often. (I usually skim out the fat at this point as well.) If you’re using leftover turkey, skip this bit obviously.

Rinse and drain beans. Add beans and remaining ingredients plus cooked veggies to the pot. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Note: The cookbook says that if you’re using cooked turkey to add it to the chili during the last 15 minutes of cooking. I’ve done it both ways: Adding it with the rest of the ingredients and adding it at the end. I have noticed no difference in taste or texture.


You can serve it over rice or pasta. I like it with a dollop of sour cream and a side of jalapeño corn bread, but that’s just me. I’d also put a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those who like a bit of extra kick. If you plan on freezing it, it will keep for up to three months. (I made and froze this recipe when I was pregnant and enjoyed many a post-baby meal of chili. Or, rather I wolfed down a half a bowl whilst in a semi-conscious state.)

Turkey chili with a dollop of sour cream

Chunky chili is good chili.

Utterly fantastic. Without fail one of the best use-up-that-turkey recipes around.


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  1. #1 by elizabethsegran on 11.25.2011 - 12:59 pm

    That looks really delicious. And so much more interesting than a sandwich!

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